Investigators believe a man who drove away before paying a locksmith started a chase that ended with a car plowing into three teenagers, killing one and critically injuring another.
The vehicle that hit the girls then allegedly left the scene, Cobb County police said today. Police later located the alleged hit-and-run driver, along with a second driver accused in the deadly crash.
Three pedestrians, identified only as female juveniles by the police, were walking on a sidewalk along Barrett Lakes Boulevard at the time of the Sunday night crash, according to Officer Mike Bowman. Friends and family identified the three as Reina As-Salaam, of East Point, and Juliana Ferrell and Monica Epps, both of Cobb County.
Investigators believe the driver of a silver Nissan 350z was northbound on Barrett Lakes Boulevard approaching Shiloh Valley Drive in the Kennesaw area when he lost control of the vehicle, Bowman said. The driver, later identified as Tansu Kanlica, left the roadway and crossed the sidewalk, striking all three girls, according to police.
“It is believed that Mr. Kanlica was attempting to give chase to another vehicle for theft of services,” Bowman said in an emailed statement.
According to arrest warrants, Kanlica was working as a locksmith when a customer drove away without paying him $175, prompting Kanlica to chase the other man’s vehicle.
Reina, 15, died at the scene of the wreck, which happened around 7:20 p.m. Juliana was transported by ambulance to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital with life-threatening injuries, and Monica was transported to Kennestone with non-life-threatening injuries, including broken bones, a family member told Channel 2 Action News. Juliana’s mother, Jane Ferrell, said her daughter is in a coma.
News of Reina’s death shocked not only classmates at Tri-Cities High School, but also others in East Point, where her mother, Rashida Oliver, serves as the chief judge.
“Judge Oliver has been a colleague and friend for years, and she’s never — amidst her hard work — lost her focus on her children,” fellow Judge Glen Ashman told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “She and her family have my prayers at this difficult time.”
After allegedly striking the three pedestrians, Kanlica, 27, of Atlanta, left the scene of the wreck, according to police. He was located several miles away at I-75 and Canton Road, where he was arrested.
Kanlica was charged with homicide by vehicle in the first degree, hit and run resulting in serious injury, two counts of serious injury by vehicle, failure to maintain lane and reckless driving. He was being held without bond today in the Cobb County jail.
A second driver, Garrett Anderson, 23, of Kennesaw, was arrested and charged today for his alleged role in the wreck, police said. Investigators believe Anderson declined to pay Kanlica for locksmith services.
Anderson is charged with homicide by vehicle in the first degree, two counts of serious injury by vehicle, theft of services and reckless driving, Cobb County jail records show. He was also being held today without bond.
Anyone with information about the crash that may assist investigators is asked to call Cobb police at 770-499-3987.
In an unrelated incident, Kanlica was arrested in September after he assaulted a 16-year-old girl waiting for a bus on Piedmont Road, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. Kanlica approached the teen and tried to throw her to the ground, Atlanta police said.
But the teen was able to run into a Pep Boys store and tell the manager what happened, prompting the manager to run outside and hold Kanlica down until police arrived, The AJC reported. Kanlica was arrested and charged with battery and booked into the Fulton County jail, where he spent about a month before being released after posting $3,000 bond, booking records show. Kanlica pleaded guilty to the crime in February, according to Fulton County court records.